Lemon thyme medicinal uses

Thyme ‘Lemon’

Lemon Thyme Plants

Thymus citriodorus

Lemon Thyme looks and grows like English Thyme but has the taste and scent of lemon! Use Lemon Thyme in any recipe that calls for lemon flavoring or lemon zest to avoid bitterness or overpowering with citrus flavor. Known worldwide for its culinary prowess, Lemon Thyme is heavily used in Middle Eastern and European cuisines, most popularly found in the French Bouquet Garnis and Herbes de Provence. Lemon Thyme is best added early on in the cooking process, when left to simmer, its lemon flavor slowly infuses the dish. Lemon Thyme also makes a very delicious and medicinally valuable tea and is a great source of iron.
Believed for centuries to be a symbol of courage, Lemon Thyme was also seen as an herb that ensured safety and protection. Often placed under pillows and in mattresses to ward off bad dreams and used to line coffins to protect the soul on its journey to the afterlife, Thyme has a rich superstitious history.
A valuable medicinal herb, Lemon Thyme is similar to the rest of its family. Highly antiseptic, it was used to disinfect wounds, sterilize bandages and illness. Because its essential oils are lipid-soluble, when taken in tea form, it is highly effective at thinning and reducing mucus and chest congestion. Frequently prescribed after childbirth, Lemon Thyme tea aides in the recovery and healing, and reduces painful uterine contractions. Lemon Thyme is now commonly found in many all natural sanitizers and cleansers for its aromatic scent and antiseptic properties.

Lemon thyme is a reliable little herb that has attractive green, glossy heart shaped leaves and produces a delicate little pink flower in the summer. This thyme is a semi-creeping plant and looks great in a container filled with bright, cheery annuals.
Also available in our four inch hand thrown Guy Wolff Greenhouse Pot. The aged finish of these classic terracotta pots will add style to your naturally beautiful plants! Whether it’s a “thank you” for the hostess with the “mostest”, or a corporate Christmas gift, these potted herbs make the perfect gift.

Lemon Thyme

Light requirements: Full sun is ideal, but plants can grow in part shade.

Planting: Space 12 to 24 inches apart, depending on type. Check plant tags to confirm correct spacing.

Soil requirements: Plants grow best in sharply-drained, slightly alkaline soil with a pH of 7.0. Lime soil if needed. Improve drainage and add lime by working limestone gravel into planting areas.

Water requirements: Keep soil moist after planting until plants are well-rooted. Once established, plants in beds survive on rainfall. In containers, irrigate whenever soil is dry. Mulch with limestone gravel or builder’s sand to improve drainage and prevent root rot.

Frost-fighting plan: German Thyme is perennial in zones 5 to 9; lemon thyme, in zones 7 to 9. Established German Thyme plants can survive hard frosts (under 28º F). Use a frost blanket to protect newly planted seedlings from late spring frosts or prolong the fall growing season. In coldest zones, cover plants with pine boughs after soil freezes to help protect from winter damage.

Common issues: Fungus diseases occur in humid climates. In zone 10, thyme is an annual due to high humidity and fungal diseases. Root rot is common in poorly drained soil. Watch out for spider mites.

Growing tip: Cut thyme back by one-third in spring, always cutting above points where you can see new growth, never below into a leafless woody stem.

Harvesting: Pick leaves at any point in the growing season, although flavor is most intense just before plants bloom. You can also harvest through winter in places where thyme is evergreen. Pick individual leaves, or snip leafy stems to the length you desire.

Storage: Keep a few stems in water at room temperature to enjoy fresh clippings for a week. To store in your refrigerator, wrap dry, unwashed stems in a damp paper towel, and stash in a tightly closed plastic bag. Place in a door compartment, which is warmer. Use within 7 to 10 days. For longer storage, dry leaves.

For more information, visit the Thyme page in our How to Grow section.

Lemon Thyme: An Essence Of Citrus

The region from which all thymes originated includes southern Europe, Asia and northern Africa. The name “thyme” comes from the Greek word that means to fumigate. The Ancient Greek physician and botanist Dioscorides considered the herb thyme an effective expectorant and the herb was also mentioned by Roman naturalist Pliny as an effective fumigant.

The Roman legions brought thyme to England and it went on to be grown and widely used by the English during the Middle Ages.

At one time it was considered to be a hybrid of common garden thyme (Thymus vulgaris) and broad-leaved thyme (Thymus pulegioides), but lemon thyme (Thymus citriodorus) is actually its own distinct species of thyme. Note that broad-leaved thyme is also sometimes referred to as lemon thyme.

Flavor profile of lemon thyme

Lemon thyme gets its name from the fact that its leaves produce a strong lemony fragrance along with notes of thyme. This variety of thyme is sweet and lacks the camphorous bitterness that common garden thyme sometimes has. It can bring a strong lemon flavor to dishes that require it, which makes this herb an excellent substitute for both lemon and thyme. There are different cultivars of lemon thyme that are named for the similarity of their fragrance to different citrus fruits including orange thyme.

Health benefits of lemon thyme

Lemon thyme contains many compounds that are known to be effective for preventing certain diseases while also boosting the immune system. These compounds include:

  • Antioxidants: Lemon thyme is a rich source of phenolic antioxidants like zeaxanthin, lutein and luteolin. This class of compounds is believed to have anti-cancer benefits and can promote healthy aging.
  • Vitamins: Lemon thyme contains all of the most important vitamins including vitamin C, which helps the body to protect itself against infections as well as damage from free radicals. Lemon thyme is also a rich source of vitamin A, which is necessary for good vision and healthy skin.
  • Minerals: Lemon thyme contains a variety of essential minerals including calcium, which is necessary for healthy bones and teeth. It also has a significant amount of potassium, which your body uses to regulate fluid balance and to maintain a healthy blood pressure.

The compounds in lemon thyme can help to treat and prevent conditions like:

  • Respiratory tract ailments: Compounds like thymol can provide relief from bronchitis, whooping cough and similar illnesses.
  • Gastrointestinal ailments: Lemon thyme can be used to treat gastritis along with bloating and indigestion.
  • Gingivitis: The antifungal and antibacterial properties of thymol and other components can help to prevent and/or treat gingivitis and other dental problems.

Common uses for lemon thyme

Lemon thyme is best used fresh rather than dried. Like lemon and like thyme, it is versatile and can be paired with a wide range of ingredients including poultry, fish and vegetables. You can use the herb to flavor baked or roasted potatoes, and it can be included in a stuffing for chicken or turkey. Fresh lemon thyme leaves can be included in salads as well. Lemon thyme is also an excellent complement for other herbs like oregano and basil.

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medicinal herbsLemon ThymeThymus x citriodorus

Herb: Lemon Thyme

Latin name: Thymus x citriodorus

Synonyms: Thymus serpyllum citratus, Thymus serpyllum citriodorum

Family: Labiatae

Medicinal use of Lemon Thyme:

The leaves, and especially the essential oil contained in them, are strongly antiseptic, deodorant and disinfectant. The plant can be used fresh at any time of the year, or it can be harvested as it comes into flower and either be distilled for the oil or dried for later use. The leaves contain an antioxidant and regular use of the raw leaves has been shown to increase average life expectancy by about 10%. The essential oil obtained from this plant is thought to be less irritant than other thyme oils and so it is used in aromatherapy to treat asthma and other respiratory complaints, especially in children.

Description of the plant:




10 cm
(4 inches)


July to



Habitat of the herb:

Not known in the wild.

Edible parts of Lemon Thyme:

Leaves – raw in salads or added as a flavouring to cooked foods. A delicious lemon flavour. If the leaves are to be dried, the plants should be harvested in early and late summer just before the flowers open and the leaves should be dried quickly. An aromatic tea is made from the leaves. It has a pleasant lemon-like flavour and is very refreshing.

Other uses of the herb:

The essential oil obtained from the leaves and flowering stems is used in perfumery, as a mouth wash, medicinally etc. The aromatic leaves are dried and used in pot-pourri and herbal pillows. The plant makes an attractive ground cover for a sunny position. They are best spaced about 30cm apart each way.

Propagation of Lemon Thyme:

Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Seed can also be sown in autumn in a greenhouse. Surface sow or barely cover the seed. Germination can be erratic. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. This species is a hybrid and will not breed true from seed. Division in spring or autumn. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring. Cuttings of young shoots, 5 – 8cm with a heel, May/June in a frame. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Layering.

Cultivation of the herb:

Not known in the wild.

Known hazards of Thymus x citriodorus:

None known
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.

Lemon thyme is both a cute little perennial and a fabulous herb.

Key Lemon thyme facts

Name – Thymus x citriodorus
Family – Lamiaceae
Type – condiment
Height – 8 to 16 inches (20 to 40 cm)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – light, well-drained

Foliage – evergreen
Flowering – spring

Harvest – all year round

Its lilac-colored blossoms and evergreen foliage make it a very ornamental plant all year round.

  • Read also: articles and recipes with thyme as a prime ingredient.
  • Health: health benefits and therapeutic properties of thyme.

Sowing and planting lemon thyme

Planting of lemon thyme purchased in pots or in nursery pots

The best season to plant your citrus thyme is fall.

If you purchase a young plant directly, plant it also in spring, preferably in light and well-draining soil.

Sowing lemon thyme

To prepare seedlings, you must sow in a nursery in spring.

You can transplant the seedlings in the ground 5 to 6 weeks after sprouting.

Propagating lemon thyme

Lemon thyme can be propagated through crown division at the beginning of spring.

Pruning and caring for lemon thyme

You can cut stems off your lemon thyme whenever you need some all year round.

It is best to cut stems from recent growth to stimulate appearance of new shoots.

It is best to select the younger stems and collect them in the morning before dawn, which is when flavors are most concentrated.

  • Remove dead branches at the beginning of spring.

Help your slow-growing lemon thyme by weeding around it to stifle out competition.

To maintain its dense, compact shape, wait for the end of the blooming season to prune it delicately.

Learn more about lemon thyme

Lemon thyme is a tiny shrub which has leaves that remain very ornamental all year long. Its name comes from its taste that reminisces of lemon.

It is often used in infusions, and also in cooking to flavor sauces and soups.

Native to the Mediterranean area, lemon thyme is very fragrant and is particularly well suited to seasoning grilled meat and fish.

It is a rather hardy plant that resists temperatures below freezing and diseases very well. Its leaves are wider and rounder than those of common thyme.

Lemon thyme, like its cousin Thymus officinalis, has certain beneficial medicinal properties, for example it eases digestion and relaxes the body.

Keeping lemon thyme

There are two ways to keep it, either leaves are dried, or they are frozen in a freezer.

In the first case, place collected stems in a dry and ventilated place until they are completely dry. After that, they can be ground and kept in a jar for several months.

Freezing has the advantage of preserving their flavor, and thyme can keep this way for several months.

Smart tip about thyme

No need to water, thyme will be perfectly happy with poor and dry soil. It naturally grows in desolate arid places.

  • Health: health benefits and therapeutic properties of thyme.
  • Read also: articles and recipes with thyme as a prime ingredient.

9 Health Benefits of Thyme

Thyme is an herb from the mint family that you probably recognize from your spice set. But it’s so much more than an after-thought ingredient.

Its range of use is impressive, and it has over 400 subspecies. Ancient Egyptians used it in their embalming practices, while ancient Greeks used it as incense.

Thanks to its distinctive taste, thyme has remained a culinary staple to this day. But thyme is also fast gaining a reputation for its medicinal qualities, such as its ability to help treat acne and high blood pressure.

It’s about thyme

If you’re tired of buying and trying over-the-counter acne medication with no good results, you may be in luck. Thyme is known for its antibacterial properties and it might have a future as an acne-fighting ingredient.

When thyme is steeped in alcohol for days or weeks, it turns into a solution known as a tincture. Researchers in the U.K. have tested the effects of thyme tinctures on acne.

In the one study done on thyme tincture, the findings were impressive. This natural herb preparation fought pimples better than antiacne products, which included benzoyl peroxide. Time will tell if this remedy is an effective acne treatment.

Thyme to lower blood pressure

Thymus linearis Benth. is a species of thyme found in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

A study found that an extract was able to significantly reduce heart rate in rats with high blood pressure, and it was also able to lower their cholesterol.

One sure way to use thyme to help lower your heart rate is to substitute it for salt in your foods.

Thyme to stop coughing

Thyme essential oil, which is obtained from its leaves, is often used as a natural cough remedy. In one study, a combination of thyme and ivy leaves helped to alleviate coughing and other symptoms of acute bronchitis.

Next time you’re faced with a cough or sore throat, try drinking some thyme tea.

Thyme to boost your immunity

Getting all the vitamins your body needs every day can be challenging. Luckily, thyme is packed with vitamin C and is also a good source of vitamin A. If you feel a cold coming on, thyme can help get you back in good health.

Another health benefit of thyme: It’s a good source of copper, fiber, iron, and manganese.

Thyme to disinfect

Mold is a common yet potentially dangerous air pollutant that can lurk in your home. Once you identify it, take the necessary steps to get rid of it once and for all. Thyme oil may be the answer for low mold concentrations.

Essential oil of thyme and thymol hold many fungicidal properties. Research suggests that it can be used as a disinfectant in dwellings where there is a low concentration of mold.

Thyme to get rid of pests

Thymol is also an ingredient in many pesticides — both outdoor and indoor — and is commonly used to target bacteria and viruses, as well as rats, mice, and other animal pests.

A recent study shows that thyme extract can repel mosquitoes, but growing it in your garden isn’t enough. In order to get the best pest fighting results, rub thyme leaves between your hands to release the essential oil.

You can also make homemade repellant by mixing four drops of thyme oil to every teaspoon of olive oil, or mixing five drops for every 2 ounces of water.

Thyme for good smells

Organic and natural skin care products can now be found at most retailers, and many contain thyme.

Thanks to its antiseptic and antifungal properties, it is a common ingredient in mouthwash. Thyme is also a popular ingredient in natural deodorants and is often included in potpourri.

Thyme to boost your mood

Thyme essential oil is often used for aromatic and therapeutic purposes because of its active substance carvacrol.

In a 2013 study, carvacrol was shown to affect neuron activity in ways that boosted the subjects’ feelings of well-being.

So if you use thyme or thyme oil regularly, it might have a positive effect on your feelings and mood.

Thyme for some good food

Thyme is a wonderful ingredient that’s used in cuisines around the world, particularly in France, Italy, and across the Mediterranean.

Thyme is a main ingredient in this cleansing take on pesto sauce, which you can use as a condiment or add to pasta or rice.

Fresh leaves or whole sprigs can be used while preparing meat or poultry. Thyme is also an excellent ingredient to use with fish, like in this heart-healthy white fish recipe.

This whole-wheat macaroni and cheese with mushrooms and thyme is a grownup spin on a childhood favorite, and it’s a great way to add some thyme to your diet.

Thyme is the name used for several species of the genus Thymus. This genus contains about 350 different species that are aromatic herbaceous plants and sub-shrubs from the family Lamicaeae.

Those sub-shrubs are native to Europe, Asia and North Africa, and they can grow up to 40 centimeters tall. Most of the species have the same or very similar appearance; the leaves are evergreen and narrow, small and oval, arranged in opposite pairs. These leaves are usually aromatic; therefore, many species are very popular as culinary herbs.

The most popular specie is Thymus vulgaris, known as Thyme Green or French Thyme. These plants require well-drained soil and sunny location, and they have a high tolerance for drought and deep freezes.

Thymus citriodorus (Lemon Thyme or Citrus thyme) is evergreen sub-shrub that is cultivated as medical plants, culinary herbs and ornamental plants. Cultivars can have different citrus fruits, as well as a different color. Thus one can find Lemon supreme, Orange thyme, Lime Thyme, Creeping Golden Lemon and Silver-Edged Lemon Thyme.

Characteristics of Lemon Thyme

Many of the compounds found in thyme are known to have the ability to prevent certain diseases and to promote and enhance the immune system.

Thyme is very high in the most important minerals that are essential for health. The leaves of thyme are an excellent source of iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, selenium, and potassium. It helps control blood pressure and heart rate.

All of the most important vitamins are also present in thyme. Vitamin C, that helps the body create and develop resistance against infections and free radicals, vitamin A, that is essential for vision, skin, and healthy mucous membrane, and beta-carotene, that protects from lung cancer. Besides, there is also vitamin K and vitamin B-6, that is beneficial for neurotransmitters in the brain, thus, relieve from stress.

Fresh thyme herb has the highest level of antioxidants. It contains phenolic antioxidants like zea-xanthin, lutein, pigenin, naringenin, luteolin, and thymonin.

It is important to remember that thyme contains thymol, one of the important essential oils that have antiseptic and anti-fungal characteristics.

Health Benefits of Lemon Thyme

Due to all the components, thyme was used as a remedy for the respiratory tract for as long as its ability to help with the infections has been discovered. It can alleviate infections such as bronchitis, cough, laryngitis, tonsillitis, and whooping. Many use thyme tea when confronted with these conditions.

The standard way to make an infusion is to pour a cup of boiling water over the material to be infused, leave it for 5 minutes, strain it, and drink it. One can use fresh plant, dried thyme, and seeds or bark.

Overall, lemon thyme is excellent for boosting lymphatic and immunity system.

Diuretic properties

Because thyme is stimulant and has diuretic properties, it can also help with an upset stomach, chronic gastritis, bloating, flatulence, and curing indigestion. Lemon thyme helps relax the muscles of the gastronomical tract. It is a remedy for menstrual cramps.

Reduces stress and fatigue

In aromatherapy, it reduces stress and fatigue. Drinking thyme tea is very good for the stimulation of the nervous system. Thyme tea treats depression, nightmares, insomnia, melancholy, and exhaustion. It can also help soothe headaches and it can improve memory and concentration.

Antifungal properties

Having antifungal properties, it reliefs from scabies and lice infestation. It also has the power to get rid of the itching. For this problem, one should boil an ounce of dried thyme and rinse the itchy skin with it. Thyme tincture can remove blemishes and clear acne. Thyme leaves or thyme oil acts as an antiseptic mouthwash.

Rinsing the mouth with either oil or a decoction from thyme leaves, one can prepare a remedy for gingivitis, mouth sores, gum inflammation, and bad breath.

Dandruff-free hair

For dandruff-free and healthy hair, thyme is a powerful ally. Boil a pint of water and add four tablespoons of thyme. Leave the mixture for 20 minutes, and use it as a final rinse on your hair after washing. That way one can control, reduce, and finally remove dandruff. For healthy hair, massage with thyme oil is very beneficial. It stimulates circulation and promotes hair growth.

Lemon thyme essential

Lemon thyme essential oil has been used as a remedy since ancient times. It can help with concentration and memory. It can combat depression and anxiety, it can strengthen the nervous system, and, it can treat colds, asthma, sore throats and colds. Its warming effect can help with rheumatism, muscular aches, and pains and sports injuries.

Thyme essential oil has antiseptic, cardiac, diuretic, stimulant, tonic, anti-rheumatic, and antispasmodic properties.

Possible Side Effects

There is no particular evidence that lemon thyme can cause any severe side effects. However, excessive use of this herb can cause nausea and excessive perspiration. It is not recommended for pregnant women.

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Last article update: 01/22/2019


A member of thyme family lemon thyme or citrus thyme as many call it is a popular herb which can be found in numerous gardens. This herb is scientifically called as ‘thymus citriodorous’ and the medicinal impact of this herb is not known by many. This herb is in no way related to the basil thyme and is in some ways related to what we call as the garden thyme. This herb is known to have similar aroma as that found in lemon and is known to contain flowers ranging from pink to white in colour. IN terms of appearance you would find this thyme to be similar looking to English thyme, however this is the portion where the level of similarity ends. Some of the medicinal advantages of this herb are mentioned under.

Primary Use of this Herb

This herb is known to be helpful in treatment of numerous respiratory ailments such as bronchitis and cough. Thyme tea has been known to be exceptionally helpful in treating these conditions.

Chemical And Nutrient Content in Lemon Thyme

  • Esters
  • Thymol
  • Geraniol
  • Nerol
  • Citronellol
  1. Helps in curing respiratory issues

    This herb has been known to be effective in treating numerous problems related to the respiratory tract, particularly bronchitis and tonsillitis.

  2. Is known to have diuretic nature

    This herb is known to have diuretic effect and hence is known to stimulate urination. By doing so it tends to be effective in cleaning out toxins and excessive salts from the body.

  3. Helps in Curing Stress and Fatigue

    This herb has been known to be exceptionally useful in treating issues such as fatigue and stress. It is known to have expectorant nature and is known to help in calming of nerves and arteries.

  4. Is known to have anti-fungal effects

    This herb has been known to contain anti-fungal qualities and is known to be effective in treating issues such as scabies and lice infestation. They are also known to kill bacteria and are an active ingredient in numerous mouthwashes.

  5. Helps in maintaining hair health

    This herb has been used to treat numerous hairs as well as scalp issue and is known to increase the strength of hair. It is also an effective remedy against people who are suffering from issues such as dandruff.

How to Use

  • This herb is consumed in the form of tea.
  • It is known to be applied topically in the form of decoction.
  • It is known to be used in the form of oil.


Excess consumption of this herb has been known to be cause issues such as nausea and prespiration.

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